Inside the Members-Only New York Society Library, NYC's Oldest Library

Inside the Members-Only New York Society Library, NYC's Oldest Library

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The New York Society Library

53 East 79th Street

New York, NY 10075

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New York Adventure Club |

About this event

From getting looted by British soldiers during the American Revolution to George Washington forgetting to return two books (c'mon, George!), one New York City membership library dating back to 1754 has been through it all. But how has a book collection managed to keep its doors open for over 250 years? It's time to uncover the secrets of New York City's oldest library like never before.

Join New York Adventure Club for an exclusive trip through the members-only New York Society Library (NYSL), the oldest cultural institution in New York City, which contains over 300,000 volumes.

Led by one of the New York Society Library librarians, our behind-the-scenes experience at the historic 1917 John S. Rogers Italianate townhouse will include:


  • A brief introduction to the library’s rich history and history, and overview of its most famous members including George Washington, John Jay, Herman Melville, and Willa Cather
  • A private walkthrough of the major public and members-only spaces, including the archives, book bindery, and wood-paneled writers’ rooms
  • An exclusive peek at the staff-only conservation studio to see the library's older and decorated books
  • A detailed look at the current literary-themed exhibition


Click here to see pictures from one of our last visits to NYSL!

See you there!

*Due to the venue's COVID-19 protocols, guests must be fully vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (proof of vaccination required at door) and be wearing a mask to enter the building's premises


"It was great to get a peak inside a collection that I have been curious about for years." -Sydney

"Living in "fly-over" country this platform allows me to enjoy BIG CITY events etc in an private tour format." -Judy

"A good mix of information about the library, from the building itself to the famous people that have borrowed books." -Laurie

"I liked the variety of speakers giving more depth to the inner workings of the library." -Janet

"Rich in history, so very interesting and eloquent, and best of all, it was run by women (because females can do anything)." -Emily

"The staff described the many varied components of this wonderful place with great knowledge and enthusiasm." -Carol

"Wonderful staff leadership! They clearly love their work and their library." -Ron

"Everyone on the panel had something meaningful to add. The library has a rich history that was described in detail. The place and the personnel are incredible. The dedicated researchers, archivists and their creative exhibitions were impressive. I loved how one said she was "ravenous" for books and everyone nodded! And another said the "book smell" such an evocative expression of her love for the space and their mission. Well done!" -Helen

"The library sounds magnificent! I had not known about it! I cannot wait for healthier times to be able to visit! The history and descriptions of the various parts and collections and events was fascinating to me" -Ellen

"I love the detail and how knowledgeable the participants are. I'm a distance member and have only been there once but found it hard to leave. I never even made it upstairs. Now I have!" -Virginia

"I learned about a library that I never knew existed; I loved how beautiful the building was; the librarians clearly love their jobs and it was interesting to hear about the different jobs (conservator; childrens' books, etc. ) and to hear thoughtful details such as how they have the YA books in their own area so that teens can have privacy but still be near their families. If I lived in NY I'd join in a heartbeat." -Carol

"The history of the library is amazing." -Ellen

"The presenter was knowledgeable about the library and shared information in an entertaining way." -Linda

"The presenter was knowledgable and passionate!" -Alexandra

"Interesting balance of history, architecture, and overview of the functions of the library. Presenter was lively, knowledgeable,and engaged. Great event!" -Meg

"I especially liked the rich history and tour guides exceptional knowledge." -Lin

"I love Sara's experience and association with the library." -Linda

"Of course the virtual tour and living in Iowa not familiar with the history or mission of this historical museum. It was very well done! I missed first part so great I can watch again." -Carol

"It gave me an excellent feel for the history of the library, its services, collections and building The presenter was appealing and down to earth." -Leigh

"Very organized. Lecturer was so knowledgable and passionate about the Library." -Helaine


By attending a New York Adventure Club experience, you accept our terms of service.

Categories: In-Person, Mansions & Private Clubs

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